Surchart Subsin was born on July 2, 1938, in Tha La District. He finished primary school and began studying and developing his interest in shadow puppets, or Nang Thalung. He learned the process of making the puppet as well as performing. At the age of 16, he used his knowledge and began the performance of the characters he had developed, Surchart soon became well know as a shadow puppet performer and maker. In Thailand especially in the south, he has obtained many awards for his extraordinary abilities. He has also had many opportunities to travel abroad to show his art and learn from other cultures. He has a professional skill in this art and is considered to be the best in southern Thailand.
In 1985, He had a once in lifetime opportunity to perform for his majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej At Thaksin Rachanivesha Palace. He was gratefully thanked many times by his majesty the king for helping to keep such an ancient folk art alive in modern times. Surchart has passed down the art of shadow puppet making to his children and the people of southern Thailand spirit and pride.
Making the shadow puppets is a lengthy process
which takes a lot of talent. A treated cow hide is dried for 3 days on the
frame. When the leather is set, a design is drawn on the leather. Desingns
can vary depending on whether they are characters or animals for plays or
decorating homes. the design is carved out using small hand tools. Carving
the leather takes patient, talent and a lot of time. carving can take hours
or months depending on the detail of the design.
The hide is then painted using black, green, red and yellow colours. Bamboo rods are attached to the puppets to manipulate the movements of the caracters. The puppets are sold at the markets and festivals, and are used in performances or to decorate homes. They make great souvenirs.
Nowadays, it is wonderful to see someone
like Surchart Subsin and all his family with such of love for the shadow
puppet handicraft, trying to keep the past alive, while making it enjoyable
He has helped to develop and teach the southern Thai culture through his art.
Surchart has made a lasting inpact on puppetry for generations to come